WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MASTER OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES (MTS) DEGREE?
The MTS degree is intended to make good diocesan catechists and teachers of religion even better at what they do for the Church. The MTS provides a general foundation of Catholic theology and addresses issues that diocesan catechists typically encounter in the classroom and during R.C.I.A. sessions. The MTS also prepares one to teach high school religion in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. In addition, the MTS provides personal enrichment for those not interested in pursuing employment in the Church.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MASTER OF ARTS (M.A.) IN THEOLOGY?
The Master of Arts (M.A.) in theology allows one to do all of the above with respect to the MTS degree, but the MA also opens the door to further advanced theological study. With its more rigorous requirements, including foreign language study, a comprehensive exam at the conclusion of the program and most especially the thesis written under the direction of Newman University faculty, the MA degree prepares students for entry into PhD programs in theology.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BUDGET FOR BOOKS?
We try to make materials available to students online whenever possible. There are so many theological resources available online or through the databases of the Newman University library that we do not anticipate the purchase of additional textbooks to be a significant expense. On average, the cost for books is approximately $50-75 per course.
HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD I PLAN ON STUDYING EACH WEEK?
Each course will be eight weeks long. We anticipate that there will be two modules each week. Each module will include an approximately 50 minute presentation by the professor for the course. Students are able to log on at any time of day to watch these. Each module will also have built-in quizzes that you will take electronically from your computer; the software we will be using will even grade each quiz for you immediately after completion so you can check your comprehension! After completing the module and quiz, there may be assigned readings. After reading these, each student will log on and join in an electronic discussion with a small group of fellow students on some topic or question generated by the professor. The professor will guide the conversation daily, making sure everyone stays on point, giving additional input, advice, or correction, and answering questions, etc. We will go into much more detail about this during the orientation, but all told, MTS students should expect to spend about 5-6 hours per week studying. This time period includes the two 50 minute modules generated by the professor, as well as time spent on additional readings, and participating in electronic discussions. Most courses may require additional written papers or some form of final testing of student comprehension. MA students will have additional requirements on top of those required for MTS students.
WHAT SORT OF MATERIALS WILL WE BE READING?
We hope to explore the classics of the Catholic tradition. We will emphasize primary theological sources wherever possible. Of course, the Bible and the Catechism will be paramount, but we want to expose students to the richness of the Catholic theological tradition. A special emphasis will be placed on readings from current theological journals, so that students will also be exposed to the latest theological developments. Students will be able to access these theological journals electronically, through the databases of the Newman University library. In addition to the riches of the Roman Catholic theological tradition, students will also be exposed to significant authors in the Protestant, Orthodox Christian and Jewish theological traditions.
WILL EVERY PROFESSOR HAVE THE MANDATUM FROM THE BISHOP?
Yes, absolutely! Newman University requires that every Catholic professor of theology have the mandatum from the Bishop of Wichita. This requirement even extends to the theology courses we accredit in our theology programs in Dodge City, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. The mandatum is the promise Catholic professors of theology make to think with the mind of the Church and to present no doctrine in their classroom which is not in accord with Catholic teaching. Every Catholic professor of theology at Newman University cherishes his or her current possession of the mandatum.
WHAT DO I NEED ON MY COMPUTER TO START THIS ONLINE PROGRAM?
You definitely need high speed Internet access, with the higher the speed the better. Dial-up simply will not work. You also need an up to date Web Browser (e.g., Internet Explorer). These tend to update themselves, and older ones will work, but just not as well as updated browsers. Finally, you need Flash Player (9.0 Minimum). Acrobat Reader will also be needed; the newer the version, the better. We can provide safe download links to these resources so that you don’t accidentally download something you don’t want!
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE TO TAKE A SEMESTER OFF?
Sometimes life intervenes and people will need to withdraw for a semester. We are committed to helping anyone who needs to take one semester off to catch up and rejoin the cohort. If a student needs to take more than one semester off, he or she should plan to join a later cohort.
HOW DO I DECIDE BETWEEN THE MA AND THE MTS DEGREE?
The MA prepares the student to go on to the PhD in Theology. The MA will have a thesis component, as well as foreign language requirements and a comprehensive exam at the conclusion. Those who know they do not want to go on for the PhD, but who enjoy these and other academic exercises, can also take the MA degree, if they have are in possession of an undergraduate degree in theology, philosophy, history or a related field. We anticipate that most students will see the MTS degree as meeting their needs.